Oklahoma State Medical Assoc., 4 parents of kids in public schools suing state over law prohibiting mask mandates in schools

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The Oklahoma State Medical Association and four parents with kids in Oklahoma schools are suing the state of Oklahoma due to a law prohibiting schools from implementing mask mandates in schools.

The state appears to be in hot water after the 21-page suit was filed Thursday afternoon. The full suit can be read below.

The full lawsuit can be downloaded below:

Attorneys involved in the suit are calling the law unconstitutional. There’s a laundry list of reasons as to why they’re suing. Included are due process and equal protection violations. However, the big one is the Oklahoma Constitution prohibits special laws regulating the affairs of cities and school districts.

“I’ve brought the smart people to this conversation,” said Chad Taylor, an attorney involved in the suit. “This is not, and it should not be a political issue. Like I said, this is common sense and it’s about public health.”

The suit cites two areas of the State Constitution, both in Article 5. However, they are in sections 46 and 57. In section 46, the suit states the Oklahoma constitution prohibits “the enactment of special laws regulating the affairs of cities or school districts.” In the suit, they also claim the Oklahoma laws “regulate the affairs of school districts by banning public school districts from implementing mask mandates, absent certain circumstances.”

In section 57, the suit states the constitution requires that “every act of the legislature embrace only one subject.” They go on to claim that on its face, the law “encompasses more than one subject and more than one theme” by discussing public health and personal autonomy.

(AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

The three other areas discussed in the suit include equal opportunity and due process violations along with a “violation of Oklahoma children’s right to a free education in a safe environment.” A sixth area asks for injunctive and declaratory relief by stating the laws are “unconstitutional and cannot be enforced.”

“It’s a commonsense effort and it’s a public health effort,” Taylor said. “Not allowing a school district to choose to mask, they’re tying your hands.”

The Oklahoma State Medical Association chimed in with a statement of their own that can be read in full below.

“The Oklahoma State Medical Association is committed to better health for Oklahoma. It’s even written into our mission statement. With this in mind, we are glad to sign on to the lawsuit to vacate SB 658 and any action that prevents Oklahoma schools from enacting policies that could keep their students, teachers and staff safe and healthy.

The science stands firmly behind vaccinations and masking as important tools in stopping the spread of COVID-19. As we are experiencing record numbers of children infected by the Delta variant and hospitals are stretched to capacity, we must do everything we can to keep Oklahoma’s children safe.

DR. MARY CLARKE, M.D., OSMA PRESIDENT

“It’s simple, it’s cost effective, it’s available to everyone,” Taylor said. “We’ve done it last year; kids can do it this year.”

Taylor pointed to a law recently blocked by a judge in Arkansas. He said, “The same flaws that existed in the law over in Arkansas, unfortunately exist in the law in Oklahoma.” A hearing on the Oklahoma lawsuit is scheduled for next Wednesday afternoon. The governor’s office said they would not comment due to pending litigation.

Continued Coronavirus Coverage

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